DUBAI, March 16 Iran's foreign minister said on
Sunday he expects a more difficult round of nuclear talks with
six world powers as the two sides try to iron out details such
as Iran's Arak heavy water reactor and levels of uranium
The two sides are to meet again in Vienna on Tuesday to try
to build on an interim agreement reached late last year in
Geneva by reaching a final settlement of the decade-old dispute
over the Islamic Republic's atomic activities by late July.
"This round of negotiations compared to the previous ones
will be more serious and tougher," Foreign Minister Mohammed
Javad Zarif told a news conference broadcast on state TV. "We do
not expect to come to an agreement."
None was expected so soon in the new round of negotiations,
Western diplomats said earlier. The six powers and Iran have set
a deadline of late July to reach a long-term agreement.
Most of Iran's 290 parliamentarians came out strongly on
Sunday against putting any limits on the Arak heavy water
reactor, which remains under construction.
"They (negotiators) should not accept any bans on the
development of the Arak heavy water complex and the fact of
enrichment," said a statement signed by 220 MPs and carried by
the semi-official Mehr news agency.
The Arak reactor, seen by the West as a potential source of
plutonium for nuclear bombs, has emerged as a big stumbling
block in Iran's talks with the United States, Britain, France,
Germany, Russia and China on a deal that would define the
overall scope of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
The Islamic Republic has long denied accusations from
Israel, Western powers and their allies that it has tried to
develop the capability to produce atomic weapons under cover of
a civilian nuclear energy programme.
In November, Iran and the six powers struck an interim deal
under which Tehran shelved higher-grade uranium enrichment and
agreed to other constraints in exchange for modest relief from
punitive economic sanctions.
(Reporting by Michelle Moghtader; editing by Sami Aboudi and